Featured: 1988 Ferrari Factory Visit Proves Kids Can Own Dreams

1988 Ferrari Factory Visit Proves Kids Can Own Dreams

By Markus Haub
September 18, 2013
13 comments

The ‘80s were a special time for Ferrari; pop culture adored the 308, the 288 GTO was setting the world on fire, and the F40 had inspired a new generation of super cars. These events cemented my boyhood devotion to the prancing horse thanks to these iconic street cars but also their determined F1 team.

During this time two of the most significant moments in Ferrari history occurred. The legendary Enzo Ferrari passed away in August of 1988 and just one month later, Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto bumped McLaren off the podium with an unexpected one-two win at the Italian GP in Monza.

In the fall, shortly after Enzo’s passing, of 1988 I was on a vacation with my parents in Austria, and one rainy day I convinced them to drive to Italy. Not just any part of Italy… Maranello! It was my wish to see where all the cars from my dreams were created.

Arriving in the village, we were welcomed by the echoing sounds of F1 cars testing nearby on the Fiorano track. At the time there wasn’t a glamourous museum to roam, just a factory with simple black gate and a small showroom with a 288 GTO and a Fiat 500 from the ‘50s. This didn’t bother me at all, I had made it to my motoring Mecca.

Suddenly (out of what I determined to be the heavens, at the time), an F40 test car emerged from the factory gate and parked right in front of me. The driver glanced towards me and motioned to come closer. I floated toward one of the most beautiful cars my boyhood eyes had ever seen. What I remember next was me gripping the steering wheel attempting to peer over the dash. He let me sit in his car!

After emerging from my official Ferrari baptism, I later toured the grounds with my family by the Cavalino restaurant and landed in one of the two enormous gift shops. Everything from books, posters, diecasts, original race car parts and signed photos were only millimeters from the tip of my nose.

My budget was of course limited, but my father wanted me to remember this day. My joy no doubt infected his inner automotive spirit, so he pulled together some money from our family vacation budget and bought me a Ferrari keychain.

Nearly 23 years after my personal brush with Ferrari’s garden of eden, that keychain has been by my side. Until the day I decided to realize a dream, buying my very own Ferrari, a 1977 308 GT4. My keychain now had an appropriate key to chime into while I grabbed for another gear or dove into an apex on a country road.

My budget was of course limited, but my father wanted me to remember this day. My joy no doubt infected his inner automotive spirit, so he pulled together some money from our family vacation budget and bought me a Ferrari keychain.

Nearly 23 years after my personal brush with Ferrari’s garden of eden, that keychain has been by my side. Until the day I decided to realize a dream, buying my very own Ferrari, a 1977 308 GT4. My keychain now had an appropriate key to chime into while I grabbed for another gear or dove into an apex on a country road.

Photography by Markus Haub

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RickSotirios BakaimisTony RandellIsaac NameD.j. Hite Recent comment authors
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Rick
Rick

I, too, have the keychain I bought when I was ten and fell in love with Ferraris. It now holds the keys to my dream car, a 308 GTS.

Rick
Rick

I, too, have the keychain I bought when I was 10 years old and fell in love with Ferraris. It now holds the keys to my dream car, a 308 GTS.

Rick
Rick

I, too, have the keychain I bought when I was ten and fell in love with Ferraris. It now holds the keys to my dream car, a 308 GTS.

Sotirios Bakaimis
Sotirios Bakaimis

great story

Tony Randell
Tony Randell

Wow, I had very similar experience , but with Porsche. I visited Porsche factory in Zuffehaussen in 1985 and fell in love. I bought a keychain there as well and placed keys for a 911 on it in 2009, 24 years later. It was wonderful to read you story.

Tony Randell
Tony Randell

Wow, I had very similar experience , but with Porsche. I visited Porsche factory in Zuffehaussen in 1985 and fell in love. I bought a keychain there as well and placed keys for a 911 on it in 2009, 24 years later. It was wonderful to read you story.

Isaac Name
Isaac Name

Sehr mitreissend und lebendig geschrieben, das ist wie eine kleine Zeitreise in den Kopf eines jungen Petrolhead…
verdammt gutes Englisch übrigens ; )

D.j. Hite
D.j. Hite

I have been there and it is amazing. Two years ago as a part of my honeymoon we carved out a day to go and visit the Ferrari factory. We stayed the night in Modena right next to what is now the new museum. We traveled by bus over to Maranello. We spent the day checking out the museum and I got to drive a 458 Italia. The first Ferrari I ever got to drive was at the factory! It was the most amazing day and one of the highlights of my entire life.

Nick
Nick

Your parents must have been really cool!

Jorrit Hermans
Jorrit Hermans

What a beautiful story
It’s what dreams are made off

Pawel Skrzypczynski
Pawel Skrzypczynski

Great story and retro-photographs! Well done!

Josh Clason
Josh Clason

The photos and this story blow me away!

Anders Holmberg
Anders Holmberg

GREAT post!